Lewis and Clark Trail, 8 yrs of it...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LewisNClark, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,292
    Location:
    North GA and Atlanta
    Quitman likes this.
  2. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,650
    Location:
    CONUS
    "..but all take the liberty of obeying the dictates of nature without reserve."
    :photog
  3. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,292
    Location:
    North GA and Atlanta
    In their defense: Most of Lewis’ education came from home schooling from his Mother, then at 12 his mother sent him to be boarded with a minister to continue more education from the preacher, then he became President Thomas Jefferson’s apprentice secretary, who had a vast library Lewis was given access to. After learning to read well Lewis taught himself most of what he learned. Learned Latin so he could properly name plants their appropriate Latin name. Mastered astronomy and used of a sexton, sun and a chronometer To calculate latitude and longitude. I’m still impressed when Lewis stood on Lemhi Pass on the Continental Divide, with a stick and the dirt at his feet, and calculated the coordinates that the Pacific Ocean was 670 miles away and had a 1,200 foot drop in elevation. Telling Clark that they were in for some rough terrain and many high waterfalls....he was right and only missed the mileage by about 27 miles. Today there is a marker on the exact site Where Lewis did the calculations..how do they know, Lewis later wrote down his coordinates in his journal. Lewis was an extremely bright guy.

    Clark was very bright but said he went to the 5th grade in a one room school. But his primary education was as a surveyor with his older brother, General George Rogers Clark. Lewis taught Clark most of what he learned about calculating coordinates at Cairo, Ill. Clark was excellent in math and sketching maps and scenes they came across, but horrible at spelling, punctuation and grammar. Clark was well known for writing several pages in his journal WITH ONE PERIOD AND NO COMMAS.

    Of the 33 members of the Expedition half had German, Irish, British accents, and L&C and the 12 young men from Kentucky had strong Southern accents, chewed tobacco, and loved their whiskey.

    0f the 33 members only 6 could read and write. So Drouilllard did not know how to spell his own name either, giving Clark a good excuse for his 5 spellings. Spelling was no big deal in the 1700 and 1800s, mainly due to lack of books (printing presses) and so few were literate. All 33 were exceptional in many ways besides books.
    Bonnie & Clyde, Amphib, td63 and 2 others like this.
  4. Drybones

    Drybones Fish bones are on my truck seat cover, too

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    309
    Location:
    Oro Valley, AZ near 77
    The journals are truly fascinating and an eye-opening read. Those men endured more hardships than a present-day person can imagine, including difficult terrain, dangerous animals, biting insects, near-constant rain often with no shelter, cold and heat, injuries and sickness... Lewis's descriptions of the natives are nothing at all like what we have been led to believe through our entertainment industry. Even their struggle with finding food is eye-opening. Lewis made the following comment early in the return trip not too far up the river past future Portland: "I also purchased four paddles and three dogs from them with deerskins. the dog now constitutes a considerable part of our subsistence and with most of the party has become a favorite food; certain I am that it is a healthy strong diet, and from habit it has become by no means disagreeable to me, I prefer it to lean venison or Elk, and is very far superior to the horse in any state. " They consumed hundreds during the expedition.

    I grew up near Sacagawea State Park and even rode my motorcycle past dozens of L&C marked sites as a teenager. I regret not studying the Corps of Discovery in detail over 50 years ago when I had such a great opportunity.
    knight and Aces 6 like this.
  5. spuh

    spuh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    535
    No need to defend them in my book; autodidacts' misspellings may be excused by their lack of formal training. They took the initiative and learned just what interested them, not necessarily a well rounded curriculum. They took the initiative and did the work necessary to learn because they were driven to do so. Nowadays we're given for free those treasures they fought so diligently to learn, yet far too many of us squander that opportunity. As if an education is only worth what we pay for it
    Amphib, Drybones, LewisNClark and 2 others like this.
  6. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,650
    Location:
    CONUS
    You bring forth the idea (to me) that we need a strong technical system for those that have aptitudes in certain areas with a narrow focus. As in the L&C example in your post, some are driven/have an interest in a small area and the general education causes many not to go to college (as well as cost) because they will or do fail.
    Drybones, LewisNClark and bomose like this.
  7. gianttrack

    gianttrack Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Estes Park, CO
    Just to entice others to experience the Wild and Scenic portion of the Upper Missouri River, here is a sampling of the photos I took in 2013. Besides the experience of standing where the Expedition camped and camping nearby, the scenery is amazing, you will see eagles, white pelicans, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife. There are many abandoned homesteads that may be explored, which will certainly give you reverence for the fortitude of those that came after Lewis and Clark. This section of the river is remote, with only a couple of road crossings in 149 miles. If you go during the shoulder seasons, you may have the river to yourself. We saw maybe 6 other paddlers in 8 days in early September. IMG_2936.JPG IMG_2956.JPG IMG_2957.JPG IMG_2965.JPG IMG_2965.JPG IMG_3010.JPG IMG_3060.JPG IMG_2970.JPG
  8. MTBRALPH

    MTBRALPH Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    158
    Location:
    Waxhaw, North Carolina
    Thanks for the photos. I plan to kayak part of their journey.
    Ralph
    LewisNClark and gianttrack like this.
  9. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,292
    Location:
    North GA and Atlanta
    upload_2019-12-10_9-14-26.jpeg
  10. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,650
    Location:
    CONUS
    This thread had me fire up the parallel twin and go check out some areas I have neglected over the years. Start point of the expedition. Have some photos of the 200 year reenactment of L & C riding up from the Ohio to Locust Grove where George Rogers Clark was staying with his sister Lucy (lived there the last nine years of his life and you can still walk into the room were he died) but they are pre digital (I was a bit slow getting a digital camera as the old one still worked :doh... I also rode a KLR for 8 years before the AT..:muutt..slow to upgrade).

    Attached Files:

    LewisNClark, bomose and Amphib like this.
  11. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,292
    Location:
    North GA and Atlanta
    Just adding a few footnotes:

    The below site is where Lewis and Seaman (his Newfoundland Dog) landed their barge/keelboat when arriving at Clarksville. This landing site is in front of the Clark cabin. Clarksville, Indiana is directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky. General Clark was a well known smart military commander. Before Lewis left in the Keelboat Gen Clark helped him make a list of modifications to the keelboat that they would do at Camp Dubois in St Louis over the Winter months they were stranded there.

    DSCN0251.JPG

    The cabin was the home of Wm Clark's older brother General George Rogers Clark.
    Gen Clark taught Wm Clark how to be a surveyor and educated him in math and most everything else he knew. The little cabin (replica) behind the larger cabin was the home of York, Clark's slave who went along on the L&C Expedition, but received no pay or land grants for his participation in the 3 yr trip.

    DSCN0252.JPG
    Gen George Clark was best friends with James Audubon, the well known bird historian who was one of the first to publish significant books about birds, and founder of the Audubon Society.

    DSCN0253.JPG
  12. DiggerD

    DiggerD DougFir from SuperDuke Days

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    4,796
    Location:
    Mid Wet Or A Gun
    Thanks for sparking this history lesson years ago, LnC.
    In, hook, line & sinker, as often as possible.
    LoLo Motoway, last year.

    P8290183.JPG P8290192.JPG P8290193.JPG P8290194.JPG
    Aces 6, bomose, Ladybug and 2 others like this.
  13. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,292
    Location:
    North GA and Atlanta
    Digger - Trips to do in Oregon:
    Was in Oregon a few years ago sitting by the banks of the Columbia River. In 1806 the Expedition was headed east towards home but was out of food and Lewis wrote that all they had to trade for food could fit in his hat. Desperate Lewis decided to trade anything non-essential, his steel branding iron was one of the first things to go to an Indian Chief for a string of a dozen fish to feed the 33 men.

    Camped by the below island Lewis made the trade. The below island to this day is a sacred Indian gravesite and the Indian who traded for the branding iron is believed to have used it as a marker for someone's grave. There are still Indian grave markers on the island today. History travels by for a 100 yrs and someone found the branding iron on the Washington state side of the Columbia River. The story is a RR crew found the branding iron while putting in a new track. The branding iron ended up donated to the Oregon Historical Museum. Knowing it is only displayed a couple of months each year...I called the museum begging and their response was "come on by".

    Ended up they had my book and opened their vault and handed me the branding iron into my sweaty palms. What an honor! Surprised that it is only about the size of a pack of cigarettes.

    The island called “Memaloose”, was derived from the Chinook Indian language to mean, “land of the dead”. Memaloose Island was used as a burial grounds when the expedition passed the area in 1805 and again in 1806 heading east back home. Their has been much debate that the humongous Columbia River's water depth is not like it was 219 years ago when the L&C Exp passed. Especially since so many dams and locks have been built since they passed the area. Memaloose Island still stands as a measuring stick confirming little or no change to the water depth.


    The Branding Iron -
    DSCN0102.JPG

    An image of the Branding Iron done in ink. The large box area below Lewis' name on the branding iron was used to write in the contents of the barrel being branded.
    DSCN0244.JPG

    The Island in the middle of the Columbia River where the Branding Iron was found.
    IMG_0651.JPG

    Lewis originally had the Branding Iron made at Harpers Ferry Armory gun factory to use for branding his wooden crates of rifles, gun powder, Indian tools to give away, etc. He branded the barrels but kept it and used it to brand tree trunks across the country to mark their travels. He used it frequently when they reached the Columbia River.

    Edit: Just discovered this, that another use of the Branding Iron was to brand the over 100 horses the Captains bought during their west and east travels. After Lemhi Pass they had around 38 horses that they left with the Nez Perce Indians near Weippi Idaho for the Winter and before heading down the Columbia. Returned the next year and separated their horses from the Nez Perce's horses buy looking for the brand marks. The little knobs on the sides of the branding iron were for attaching a metal handle.
    MTBRALPH, td63, Drybones and 5 others like this.
  14. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,292
    Location:
    North GA and Atlanta
    One of my favorite scenes along the Lewis and Clark Trail....off the side of a Freeway is this farmer’s place at the start of the Upper Missouri River Breaks....near Fort Benton, MT, the Missouri River does a complete U. Farmer’s home is visible at 3:00. The town of Fort Benton is at 9:00 o'clock and is down a huge ravine next to the Missouri River banks.

    BEST VIEWED AT FULL SCREEN.

    https://lewisandclark.smugmug.com/Video-Travels/i-2SxfxdH
    swimmer and Amphib like this.
  15. MrMac

    MrMac Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,162
    Location:
    Dacula, Ga.
    Thanks for this thread! I can't believe I didn't see it until just recently, I've been a big fan of L&C for a long time. I read the (edited) version of the journals over 15 years ago and always thought about following his route. I have stopped by the the gravesite on the Natchez Trace a couple of times.. And in 2006 my wife and I were traveling home from a month-long road trip (by car) to British Columbia. Just by pure coincidence, we camped near Lolo Pass almost exactly 200 years from the day that Corps of Discovery passed through! I think we missed the celebration at the Lolo Pass visitors center by one day! Sadly, we were on a time crunch and didn't get to visit any of the other sites or memorials on that trip.

    Just for some inspiration, I rode out yesterday to find the Millstone Creek community and John Marks homestead. I posted a few pictures here

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/your-best-old-structure-pic.128376/page-370#post-39121714

    Hope I got the details correct..
    Aces 6 likes this.
  16. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,870
    Location:
    Gardnerville NV
    This is one of my favorite piece's of American History! The pure unknown adventure of it all is hard to take in. Lewis and Clark the whole story even the tragic ending. Thanks for the report. My wife and I rode to all the oregon spots back in 2004.
  17. MrMac

    MrMac Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,162
    Location:
    Dacula, Ga.
    In case you are interested, my former Geography professor at Ga. State Univ. published a paper about the climate conditions during the CoD expedition. You can find it here:

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/BAMS-85-9-1289

    When we passed through Lolo pass late June of 2006, it was quite warm and only a small amount of snow in higher elevations. Quite a bit different than what L&C experienced!
    bomose likes this.
  18. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,292
    Location:
    North GA and Atlanta
    Thanks, the PDF file is really interesting....Did not even know weather data was captured in the 1800's. But weather data was extracted from variances in tree rings. PDF breaks it down by fort and campsites.

    A riding buddy and I entered the Lolo Motorway 2 yrs ago on July 2, to find a Forest Ranger gate had it closed due to 2 feet of snow on the top of the Lolo, July 2.